New Santa Fe SUV big on style
The battle for SUV sales continues and Hyundai’s much-improved third-generation Santa Fe is more than capable of picking up its fair share of the market.
You cannot help but be impressed by the sleek new design of a model that manages to seat driver and six passengers.
It might be a bit cramped in the two third row seats but that wouldn’t be a problem for school runs as these would be okay for children.
And if the model is needed for airport pick-ups or packing leisure equipment such as bicycles, there are lots of seating options with the second row split 40/20/40 and 50/50 third row.
Front headroom is improved by 11mm, legroom by 38mm and 45mm in the second row over the previous model.
With the third row folded flat there is a 534-litre boot – fold the second row and this extends to 1,615 litres.
You don’t have to worry about choosing your engine – it comes with just the one variant, a very useful 2.2-litre 194bhp CRDi.
You do get a choice of two or four-wheel drive, five or seven models which start at £25,495, an additional £1,200 for the extra two seats, and rise to £34,305 for the range-topping seven-seater Premium SE 4WD.
There is also the option of manual or automatic six-speed transmission and the test car was a seven-seat Premium 4WD with auto box.
The interior quality and layout in this model has been greatly improved and there is no shortage of standard equipment either – inside and out.
On the entry Style this includes 18-inch alloy wheels, body coloured door handles and door mirrors with integrated indicator lights, reverse parking sensors, daytime running lights and a rear spoiler with high-mounted brake light.
The interior has air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, heated front seats, driver’s seat electric lumbar support and multifunction steering wheel.
Safety features include ESP, Hill Start Assist, Vehicle Stability Management, Trailer Stability Assist and seven airbags.
It also comes with an active bonnet system which raises the bonnet by 60mm in the event of a pedestrian collision to help minimise the impact of head injuries.
The Premium adds touchscreen sat-nav, reverse parking camera with parking guidance system, electric folding door mirrors with puddle lamps, dual zone climate control, roof rails, chrome effect door handles and black leather seat trim, with beige leather an alternative at no additional cost.
Premium SE gets 19-inch alloy wheels, electric driver’s seat adjustment, panoramic sunroof, Xenon headlights, headlamp washers, keyless entry with engine start/stop button, front parking sensors, smart parking assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, supervision cluster with LCD display.
I didn’t get the opportunity to drive the Santa Fe anywhere near full capacity or off-road but it was highly efficient during my time on the tarmac.
It runs in front-wheel drive with the rear wheels only coming into play when loss of grip is detected. The touch of a switch brings permanent four-wheel drive and with the recent icy and snow conditions in the UK, two-wheel drive models would be a rather strange choice here.
The diesel engine is certainly quiet enough